May 18, 2010
Just a couple leftover notes from my road trip in the Challenger.
- Best tank of gas yielded 23.9 mpg. Not bad considering I was running 80 mph most of the time.
- The iPod interface works well, but the nav system doesn't let you do much while you're moving. Lame.
- There's no actual dead pedal. There is, however, a big empty space to rest your left foot, so good enough.
- You can fit four full-size golf bags in the trunk should you need to transport a few friends in a pinch. Didn't expect that.
- It still gets looks, even when it's covered in several hundred miles of road grime.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 25,102 miles
March 08, 2010
Ok, I think we've all read, or seen, or driven the Challenger car and know it's big. It's bigger than the original Challenger. A car that came to life in 1970, the grand era of land boats.
Maybe it felt bigger than it actually was because I drove my Mazda 3 before getting into it. It didn't matter once I hit that start button. When the engine came to life in the confines of the garage Friday night with a meaty growl, I was glad I had the keys to this beast.
It was raining out, so I turned off the stability control to have a little fun. It's stupid high school fun to spin out the tires on a slick surface or let the back drag out a touch when making corners, but it's even more fun when you have that Detroit motor revving loudly.
Precision is not the Challengers cup of tea. I thought it felt sloppy, it doesn't corner well, it's heavy and the skinny steering wheel doesn't give me a good feeling of control. But it does do big burnouts and it's meaty engine get nice 'n loud. For bonus points, its old school street machine looks still turns plenty of heads.
With the weekend over, the only size related negative I came away with were its large doors. The long and heavy swing can catch you unaware if you aren't prepared, and judging by the lack of paint at the edge of the door several editors have had this problem. However, size does matter when you're going to Goodwill in the morning. Its massive trunk accommodated two big boxes of donations!
Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer
February 03, 2010
This one is from the cutting room floor, as I actually made this trip back at Thanksgiving. But the fact remains that I crammed the Challenger full of stuff, proving you don't need an SUV to haul agolf bag, 3 tons of laundry, a suitcase wrapped as a Christmas gift, aboxed Canon printer, a few suitcases, various groceries, three curling brooms and a partridge in a pear tree. No, all it takes is some creative packing while the Tetris song plays in your head.
All the bulky items went in the back seat,since it was easier to stack them. I still had enough visibility out the back -- well, as good as can be expected in the Challenger at least. This big Dodge's size seemed like a detriment at first, but once again, an extended time withthe Challengerhas revealed its virtues.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 15,562 miles
December 21, 2009
File this under the "it didn't look that big in the brochure" category, but when I ordered the Onkyo TX-NR1007 I didn't figure on needing a special vehicle to transport it home.Honestly I figured it would be delivered to my door, but after missing FedEx two days in a rowI decided to go get it myself in our long-term 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T.
No big deal, right? It's an A/V receiver, not a big-screen TV. But between the receiver's official box and the (much-appreciated)packaging used to keep it from being damaged by the racketball sessions regularlyheldin FedEx cargo centers it was a tight fit. The packing box was 26 by 26 by 16 inches, which meant the receivercompletely filledthe Dodge's cargo bay.
Both the trunk opening and its interior dimensions accommodated the receiver, but with little room to spare. More challenging was gettingthe Onkyoback out, as the receiver weighs 65 pounds and the high lift-overforced me to usethe wrong muscles during retrieval.
On the upside, those 65 pounds directly over the rear axle did wonders for the car's traction during high-rpm clutch dumps...I'm assuming.
I also must note the Challenger's hill-hold feature that keeps the car stationarywhen the pavement isn't level. I'm used tosuch premium treatment when driving a BMW, but it's an unexpected delight in an American muscle car.
Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief@ 16,529 miles
November 13, 2009
"WWTD," right? Isn't that what those bracelets say? Well, in any case, I know what I'd drive if I were a Texan: a Challenger R/T. No question about it.
The Challenger is frankly out of its element in the concrete jungle, as you might expect from a coupe that's longer than a Pontiac G8. Parallel parking is a particularly harrowing experience. But on the open road, are you kidding me? Short of maybe a Benz CL65 AMG or something comparably ridiculous, what would you rather be driving? The Challenger R/T is extraordinarily smooth and quiet at speed, its looming visagereliably scares the hoi polloi out of the fast lane, andits sonorousV8 deliversa burly low-end punch that's conspicuously absentfrom the Camaro SS. Oh, and it also seats four adults in comfort and swallows everyone's luggage with ease.
Forget full-size pickup trucks -- this thing should be the official vehicle of Texas.
Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor @ 13,366 miles
October 29, 2009
Every time I open the trunk of our long-term 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T, I get a bit of a shock. It's a wider and deeper hold than I've been conditioned to expect in a coupe, and published capacity is an impressive 16.2 cubic feet.
Still, a few cargo tie-downs, or grocery bag hooks, or a cargo net would greatly improve its functionality. As it is, I end up stuffing grocery bags (and, yes, melons) into the cabin since there's no way to corral anything. I checked the Mopar accessories site and came up dry -- the only extra you can get is a trunk mat. So real owners might have to use some creativity here.
Just seeing the trunk, though, makes me wonder why I haven't taken our Challenger on one of my road trips. Plenty of room for my stuff here, and I certainly like the way the big coupe rides. I also like the way it moves out in traffic (with a downshift or two) but then settles back into its customarily serene cruising demeanor (with an upshift to 6th). So, no reason for delay:I'm planning a road trip for November.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 12,842 miles
October 05, 2009
I recently lamented about the Challenger's largeness (as a lot of us car buffs have). Really, if this thing was 500 pounds lighter, 10 inches less lengthy and a few inchesshorter, it would go a long way towards being more of a pony car/sport coupe competitor. But even the old Challengerwas too big to be considered a pony car, even though its rivals back then were also the Mustang and Camaro.Well, this past weekend I discovered a few practicaladvantages the Dodge has over its familiar rivals.
Me and the girlfriend did some shopping as well as our laundry (see glamorous beauty shot) and the Challenger's trunk easily handled those domestic duties. The Challenger's capacity measures around 16 cubic feet to the Camaro's 11 and the Mustang's 13. And later that evening, four of us went out for dinner and the average-sized adults in backwere quite comfortable, no doubt due to the long wheelbase, ample headroomand high seat cushion. Its rear legroom spec's out at around 33 inches versus 30 inches for the other two. Doesn't seem like much of a difference, but what that spec doesn't tell you is how the Challenger'sseat offers more supportunder one's legs.
So that's all good, butpart of the price paid for that roominess comes upwhile parking. If anyone from Dodge is reading this take note:the Challengerneedsa reverse park assist system (and/or a rearview camera) as the high deck and cheeky rear roof pillarsmake ithard to judge when you're parallel parking or backing into a tight spot in a lot.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 11,886 miles
June 18, 2009
Our 2009 Dodge Challenger has a 16.2-cubic foot trunk -- that's roomier than the trunks of most midsize family sedans. It also has, as Dan discovered on his suspension walkaround, load-leveling rear shock absorbers.The rear seats fold down, too. Surprisingly, the Challenger works pretty well as a beast of burden for trips to Home Depot if you want it to.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
May 18, 2009
The 2009 Dodge Challenger has a butt you could serve tea on. This is a good thing because it allows for 16.2 cubic feet of luggage space.